Zane: We struggled to get going

19 March 2017 07:20:26 EST

Two points from six games is not the form that will get Newcastle Jets into the A-League Finals Series, admits assistant coach Clayton Zane.

The Jets were inside the top six a month ago, but their form since then has been disappointing. And Zane, standing in for suspended coach Mark Jones for the 4-0 defeat to Melbourne City, conceded that they'd been well off the mark at AAMI Park.

It wasn't just the four goals that the Jets shipped, leaving them three points off the top six, that were concerning for the visitors.

Newcastle managed to get through to the mid-point of the second half with just a one-goal deficit, but Zane was honest enough to admit they were a poor second best in the first half.

The game was a wake-up call for some of the younger players in the side, he said.

It took us a while to settle and you can't afford that at this time of year.

Clayton Zane

Andrew Nabbout had a good chance early in the game but then City got on top.

"For the next 20-25 minutes we really struggled to get in the game. We got pinned back," admitted Zane. "It took us a while to settle and you can't afford that at this time of year."

He said he'd felt it had been a must-win game, with the end of the regular season fast approaching, and to lose heavily was a big blow.

Jets supporters might well have questioned the decision to take off striker Aleksandr Kokko at half-time, but Zane said it had been a tactical switch.

"We didn't get much penetration from the wingers and one thing Morten [Nordstrand] offers is he makes good little runs in between centre-halves and on the shoulders," he added.

"For us he's just a different style of player and we didn't look like scoring through wingers or getting in behind too much."

The Jets are 13/8 to win their next game against Wellington, who are 8/5 with the draw 5/2.

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